Interlodged: by Jamie Haines
Jamie Haines is a new addition to our list of outstanding ambassadors. She and her Husband run the racing program Interlodge and have recently adopted a no single use water bottle program for their team.
The Interlodge sailing team is out in Utah, in the Wasatch Cache National Forest,
indulging in the incredible moutain environment for a ski vacation. Very different
from our everyday routine on the ocean, but in the same way very much the same in
our connection to nature and the environment.
The ski resorts of Alta and Snowbird are both in the small box canyon of Little
Cottonwood Canyon, in the middle of the Wasatch Cache National Forest. Alta is
unique in that is on lease hold land from the National Forest Service. As a result
the national forest service regulates operating hours and season length, and
a percentage of ticket sales for the resort go back to the forest service, while
the resorts main goal is sustainability on the slopes, working hard to reduce
impact as well as raise awareness. Although the resort of Snowbird owns the land they operate
on, they have a very strong stewardship toward the environment, working on
programs to improve wildlife habitat and water quality in the area to name a few.
Little Cottonwood Canyon is not only known for its amazing skiing, but also for
having some of the highest numbers of avalanches in the US, and the second
highest avalanche danger in North America. As a result there are a large amount of
“Interlodges” that occur, when avalanche danger is high. It also gives you a very
regular reminder of how mother nature rules in these mountains and how humans
cannot control everything, especially in the wilderness. Knowing your snow safety
is imperative to any back-country or out of bounds skiing, and still there are fatalities
every year as a result of avalanches.
Similar to those who live by the ocean, the weather is on everyone’s mind up here
in the mountains, determining everything from what kind of skis to use that day
and what slopes have the best snow, to the basics of survival in high altitude winter
climes, as the weather can change drastically in a very small amount of time.
Everyone watches the weather for the next big dump of snow, or for when to switch
from skiing to biking and hiking in the spring. And while poor snow years have
the initial dilemma of bad skiing condition’s, it has a much bigger impact on the
watershed that the snow melt feeds. The Wasatch Cache Mountain range is one of the
main watersheds for Salt Lake City and the surrounding area, so a low snow year
results in a summer of drought and high wildfire risk in the valley, extending into
the desert to the south. Human impacts that cause global warming, not only lead the
sea levels rising, but also lead to drought and wildfire in the mountains and inland
Up here in the mountains we are reminded of how small we are as humans, but
also the impact that we have on the earth around us. Every small action we take
to care for our planet, to making steps to mitigate some of the impacts of previous
generations will help to make sure these outdoor playgrounds are available for
years to come. Having a connection with the wilderness and outdoors leads to fun
packed days on water or land, but we also all hold a responsibility to take care of
those areas that we hold dear. I know I for one would like to continue to ski powder
until I can no longer walk, so I will continue to do my part to reduce my impact and
help to educate others.